Nearly fifty years after his death, the overwhelming majority of the scientific legacy of Peter Aufschnaiter—first and foremost his diaries, manuscripts (in particular a substantial book manuscript about Tibet), documents, texts (in German, English and partly in Tibetan), correspondence, visual materials (photographs, sketches of maps, drawings), collected religious items and other objects—is still unknown, not researched and not published.

The primary aim and principal priority of the research project is to make accessible this large body of materials through appropriate forms of publication and comparative studies. These materials were generated by Peter Aufschnaiter (a skilled mountaineer, trained as a civil engineer, with a gift for languages and fascination for Tibet from his youth) in the vast majority for the purpose of later publication during his time in Tibet (1944–1952) and subsequently in Tibetan-speaking areas of Nepal (1952–1971).

On the whole, these substantial original materials constitute an interrelated and coherent corpus that is unique in various regards: a) as a comprehensive “cross section” of Tibetan society in 1944–1952 and of Tibetan-speaking areas of Nepal during 1952–1971, b) due to their outstanding and meticulous documentation in written and visual forms and c) on account of their wealth of descriptions, insights, information, visual records and elaborate papers on a wide range of topics. The project studies these materials primarily from social anthropological and historical perspectives.

With the financial support of the Austrian Science Fund (FWF)


  • Ethnographic Museum University of Zurich
  • Family Dr. Germann-Bauer
  • City Archive Kitzbühel
  • Museum Five Continents, Munich
  • British Library

Project leader:
Christian Jahoda

Claudia Aufschnaiter, Tsering Drongshar, Lobsang Yongdan, Guntram Hazod, Christiane Kalantari, Patrick Sutherland

01.01.2022 – 31.12.2025

FWF P35249 Stand-Alone Project